Stockholm’s bicycling zeitgeist is extraordinarily pragmatic. Almost no spandex. Almost no fixies. Just a lot of bikes like this, with baskets and fenders and locks. Some really nice locks. The people riding the bikes look far more pragmatic, too, like a cross section of the population. Good bike lanes and, in some cases, separated trails in the part of the city I’ve seen thus far.
I got in around midday after one of those overnight transatlantic flights. (Rather like a big, uncomfortable campout with 250 strangers.) Slept little, so to fight off jet lag and try to reset my circadian thingamabob, I spent the afternoon wandering around the city, mostly taking pictures of bikes and other things. I’m here for an environmental journalism workshop organized by the Swedish Institute and others, bringing together journalists from the United States and Europe to talk about what we do and how we do it. I’m especially interested in learning about European environmental issues, and Swedish issues in particular, which are a far cry from the arid southwestern issues I spend my work days thinking about. (It rained on a good part of this afternoon’s walkabout. They have lakes – regular ones tha don’t need a dam at one end to hold the water up.)
Sweden has one of the lower per capita greenhouse gas emission rates in the developed world. There’s a storytelling riff in here for the taking about the sea of bikes outside the Central Train Station next door to my hotel. But, truth be told, I’ve no idea whether bike ridership here is higher than in other parts of the developed world. No doubt, though, that it’s higher than in Albuquerque.